21 of the most beautiful places of worship around the world

Religion involves some pretty grandiose ideas.

It should only make sense the structures that house those beliefs are equally magnificent.

Here are some of the most beautiful places people visit to worship.

The most beautiful places of worship around the world
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The most beautiful places of worship around the world

The most iconic places of worship are the towering palaces that loom over their surrounding landscapes, like the Hazrat Sultan Mosque, widely considered a jewel in Kazakhstan's capital city of Astana.

(Photo via REUTERS/Mukhtar Kholdorbekov)

Others include the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, located in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates ...

(Photo credit GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

... and the Sultanahmet Mosque, which can be found in Istanbul, Turkey. The mosque is home to more than 20,000 handmade tiles.

(Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

The Park Plaza Synagogue in Chicago recently got a revamped exterior that adds some modern flourishes to the space.

(Photo via World Architecture Festival)

The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India is a stunning structure that seems to have been dropped right in the middle of the Amritsar river.

(Photo by Malcolm P Chapman via Getty Images)

Beijing's Temple of Heaven fits the bill.

(Photo by Istvan Kadar Photography via Getty Images)

As does the Taktsang Palphug Monastery, which is tucked away on a rockface in Bhutan's Paro Valley.

(Photo by Stephen Ching via Getty Images)

The Las Lajas Sanctuary in Narino, Colombia also looks like it defies gravity.

(Photo credit LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

In Auckland, New Zealand, Bishop Selwyn Chapel features a wide overhang with massive glass doors leading to a vaulted interior.

(Photo via World Architecture Festival)

Sometimes our mental picture of certain regions doesn't fit reality. The largest Hindu temple — the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir — is located in Atlanta, Georgia.

(Photo by Sean Pavone via Getty Images)

And sometimes our eyes can't comprehend what they see. Here's the Basilica Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, designed by modernist architect Antoni Gaudí.

(Photo via REUTERS/Albert Gea)

Or Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica, with its warm, golden interior.

(Photo by Hisham Ibrahim via Getty Images)

In Onomichi, Japan, couples frequently turn to the Ribbon Chapel for their wedding ceremonies — and understandably so.

(Photo via World Architecture Festival)

Moscow's St. Basil's Cathedral delivers a more traditional sense of awe with its colorful swirling peaks. The structure almost seems to be made of candy.

(Photo via Press Association)

The Russian Monastery of St. George is actually located in Götschendorf, Germany​. But it looks like it could find a home in Russia all the same.

(Photo via World Architecture Festival)

Iceland's Hallgrímskirkja, with its glowing, golden exterior, radiates some warmth into the cold Nordic climate.

(Photo by Alongkot Sumritjearapol via Getty Images)

In Samut Prakan, Thailand, a custom involves Buddhist monks circling the Wat Asokaram temple with candles.

(Photo by Gim Porntep via Getty Images)

Similarly, in Mecca's Grand Mosque, Muslims orbit the holy structure by the tens of thousands. It's part of the faith's annual pilgrimage, known as Hajj. More than eight million people visited in a 10-day span for Ramadan in 2015.

(Photo credit BANDAR ALDANDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Frenzied as some rituals may be, however, some places of worship — like the Cardedeu in El Salvador — bring faith back to a calmer place of reflection and serenity.

(Photo via World Architecture Festival)

Wat Rong Khun, better known as the aptly-named White Temple, serves as a dual art exhibit and meditation site. The artist behind the renovation expects repairs to last until the late 21st century.

(Photo via Getty Images)

The Chapel of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, situated in Pambujan, Philippines, is a simple, colorful structure that accommodates parishioners under a wide-open sky.

(Photo via World Architecture Festival)


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